During the holidays, the windows of Duke Medical Center are adorned with seasonal cheer. The window drawings are supposed to make people feel better, but the hospital is still full of sick people.
On a large fifth floor window up on the children's wing someone drew a large polar bear with big cheerful letters exclaiming, "The Polar Bear wishes you Happy Holidays!" A naughty person edited the drawing by adding "Bi" in front of "Polar Bear", saddling the poor mentally ill mammal with a pre-existing condition.
Up on the ninth floor the large windows look out on the helicopter pad! This is where the flights of hope land. Where they bring the sick for one last chance...
Just inside of the helipad, the windows are covered with big colorful ribbons above the names of various strains of cancer: breast, brain, and my favorite, testicular (which you, gentlemen, have a 1 in 300 chance of getting.) I don't know if seeing a list of cancers is supposed to make us feel better, less alone, or just grateful to be alive, but there were a lot more people hanging out with the manic-depressive uninsurable bear than with the parade of cancers.
As if the ribbons didn't create enough pathos, someone had carved out of the purple ribbon, "La vida is corta" life is short.
Sunlight seeped in through the cut out words. Further down the windows, someone has written Voltaire's instructions about what to do about it.
Errol knows about shipwrecks, and he certainly knows how to sing...
We go to the hospital to be born, and to die. The hospital hums with joy and sadness and final hopes. Errol is ever so slowly getting better. He's hardly eaten in the past two days, but his chest tube is out and he is hoping to fly home.